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Dr Laura Griffiths

About Dr Laura Griffiths

Laura Griffiths is a senior Lecturer in the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts. Previous appointments have included visiting lectureships and Teaching Fellow in Performance and Archival Practices at the University of Leeds.

Laura recently completed an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award in partnership with the University of Leeds and Phoenix Dance Theatre which focused upon notions of the body as archive and the intersection between dance practice and archival principles. Broadly, her research interests include the relationship between dance and the archive, digital archive and performance, African People’s Dance, early British Modern Dance Practices, theories of embodiment and dance writing and criticism. Professional industry experience has encompassed project management within the arts, dance teaching in community settings, lecturing and research project assistance. Most recently Laura was Project Manager and Post-Doctoral Research Assistant for ‘Respond’ (www.respondto.org), a partnership between Yorkshire Dance, University of Leeds and Breakfast Creatives. The partnership was supported by the Digital R&D Fund for the arts (Nesta, ACE, AHRC) and has involved the testing of a digital adaptation of American Choreographer Liz Lerman‘s renowned Critical Response Process in order to explore the potential for digital technologies to deepen and widen audience engagement with contemporary dance.

Current Teaching

BA (Hons) Dance
  • Critical Contexts
  • Publishing Project
  • Embodying Dance Histories
  • Digital Practices

Research Interests

Laura's PhD thesis entitled ‘Dance and the Archival Body: Knowledge, Memory and Experience in Dance Revival Processes’ focussed upon notions of archive in relation to contemporary dance practice. This research was facilitated through an AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Award and was facilitated through a partnership with contemporary dance repertory company Phoenix Dance Theatre. Processing the company’s archive, observing the creation of new work and the revival of historic dance repertoire informed research inquiry into the role of embodied knowledge and memory as archival material within a dance reconstruction context. The research illustrated new ideas with regards to the meaning and function of the dance archive through recognition that valuable information can be triggered through the re-living of historic movement action in the dancing body. This project explored upon existing ideas regarding the ‘archive and the repertoire (Taylor, 2003) and philosophical perspectives upon the lived experience of the body afforded through phenomenological thinking (Merleau-Ponty, 1962, Fraleigh 1987, Sheets-Johnstone 1980) in order to re-think the meaning of the body as a living archive (Pavis, 2003). Through drawing upon the practices of Phoenix Dance Theatre, the project discussed the capabilities of the body to capture something of the ‘essence’ of dance practice and performance that escape the permanence of the traditional modes of the archive.

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